Perform Your Own Soil Health Suite

Whether you are a grower, a consulting agronomist or a regular soil lab, you can use the Solvita® Soil Health Suite to establish a stand-alone soil health offer to significantly enhance your nutrient test program.


Woods End Labs provides experienced services to enable persons to develop complimentary soil tests for parameters which constitute comprehensive evaluation of  “soil health”, consistent with the objectives of biological farming. None is more experienced than Woods End to perform this. Our team leader was involved in some of the earliest world efforts which established soil biology procedures beginning in the late 1970’s for comprehensive farm system comparisons.

Many ask, what is a soil health test? One thing it is not, is a new test fit into the existing model of high-rate soil lab systems. The goal of soil health testing should be to evaluate diverse properties representing soil functions that support long-term fertility and sustainability, regardless of the implications for commercial recovery of lab equipment inventory. Yet, in performing modern soil testing it is all too common to substantially destroy the soil via steps of heat drying, grinding and maceration, before testing commences. (This is analogous to destructive farming practices preceding advocacy of soil health.) Such laboratory practices came about under the influence  “proficiency” test programs that emphasize uniformity of methods without relevancy to ultimate soil quality. This system arose out of early studies in the 1980’s that revealed unfortunate extreme variability among commercial soil labs for nutrient testing. Proficiency programs sought to place a framework around this to reduce apparent variability to the customer base but ultimately in a manner inconsistent with evaluating soil biological functioning.  Hence the need for new alternatives. 

Today, instead of changing methodology to fit the new objective of soil health, these modern soil programs and their member labs are forcing the soil health objective into their mass-production model – driven increasingly by “precision” farming and cut-throat competition among labs. It is not unusual that labs offering superficial, poorly researched soil health tests typically ignore dynamic features of soil handling and preparation that negatively influence soil biology. As a result farmers may receive soil health reports that have meaningless “soil health scores” obtained by methods that are as poorly documented as they are mass-produced.

The most pressing problem, and a reason for a new start, is that many commercial lab methods overlook or ignore organic-nitrogen accumulation and the integrative or associative influence of these organic depositions (due to favorable biological farming practices) on soil structure as represented by soil aggregate stability. Woods End has comprehensively evaluated all these aspects over many decades and does not support any one or other single test to evaluate soil quality.

The methods put together in the Solvita Suite are as intuitively elegant and practical as they are useful for teaching, demonstration and reporting.  Woods End’s use of integrated matrices with weighting factors enables “triangulating” to obtain more precision interpreting soil health than just using quantitative individual factors.


In order to offer soil health tests, it is necessary to adopt protocols that elicit the effects to be observed and not to suppress them. What is needed is to identify missing features ( example: biological and bio-physical parameters) and to add these into the set to complement the nutrient tests, thereby making the offering more broad-based. Woods End’s professional staff can provide the infrastructure to assess and implement a soil health test offer for your customers.


Contact Woods End staff and arrange a discussion of the soil health conversion process for your lab!